Offshore wind starts more expensive in Brazil, says Ocean Winds executive

With 15 GW in offshore wind projects in Brazil under licensing, Ocean Winds — a joint venture between Engie and EDP Renováveis ​​for offshore wind power generation — believes that investments in the implementation of the first projects in the country will be higher than in the rest of the world.

“At first it will be more expensive in Brazil, because we don’t have a supply chain. We will need scale to become competitive,” Ocean Winds (OW) director of new business development, José Partida, told reporters.

The company already has projects under development in France, Poland, the United States and South Korea, in addition to three projects, totaling 1.5 GW — already under construction or operation — in Portugal, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

The executive says that, today, for every 1 GW of installed capacity, US$ 2.5 billion is needed in initial investments in wind farms. The cost is more than twice what it takes for onshore wind projects — which, on average, cost just under $1 billion for each GW, estimated Partida.

According to him, the natural tendency is for the cost of offshore wind to fall over the decade, mainly due to the increase in the power of wind turbines.

“For 2030, we will probably see bigger wind turbines, with more unit power, which will lower the cost”, he commented.

For this, however, the OW executive thinks that Brazil should accelerate both the definition of the regulatory framework, which is the subject of discussion both in Congress and in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, as well as the development of a national supply chain.

“If you want the energy cost to be lower in the future, the time to start is now to develop the supply chain,” he said.

Waiting for the regulatory framework

For the executive, the delay in regulating offshore wind turbines in Brazil can lead to difficulties in accessing parts and services, due to the expectation of heating demand for goods and services in the global market.

“If you don’t develop the projects now, there will be a spike in demand for offshore construction. And you may run the risk of not getting ships and wind turbines,” he said.

Partida also draws attention to the need to prepare an energy transmission infrastructure capable of transporting offshore generation.

According to him, as the projects will only be in operation around 2030, there is enough time for this work to be done in the coming years.

“The transmission network will be a challenge for sure. It is important to have a transmission plan that includes this potential of offshore wind farms.  “There has to be previous work done with EPE, Aneel, ONS to take into account offshore wind”, defended Partida.

Although Engie and EDP intend to produce green hydrogen in Brazil, the Ocean Winds executive says that the company’s offshore wind projects are currently focused on energy generation itself.

“We are now looking at demand in energy auctions, for market electricity consumption,” he said.

Partida believes, however, that offshore wind could compose an important energy mix to reduce the cost of green hydrogen produced in the country.

“Offshore wind can be used to produce hydrogen, but it can also be used to produce electricity, help the system, so that other projects that have more competitive energy, such as onshore and solar wind in the Northeast, produce green hydrogen” , pointed out the executive.

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